The Code of Ethics speaks directly to the need for culturally and linguistically competent services and research.
Principle of Ethics I: Individuals shall honor their responsibility to hold paramount the welfare of persons they serve professionally or who are participants in research and scholarly activities, and they shall treat animals involved in research in a humane manner.
Rule A, Individuals shall provide all services competently.
Rule B. Individuals shall use every resource, including referral when appropriate, to ensure that high-quality service is provided.
The implication of Rule B is that if a professional feels unprepared to serve an individual with cultural and linguistic differences, the option of an appropriate referral should be utilized.
Rule C. Individuals shall not discriminate in the delivery of professional services or the conduct of research and scholarly activities on the basis of race or ethnicity, gender, gender identity/gender expression, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or disability.
Rule E: Individuals who hold the Certificate of Clinical Competence shall not delegate tasks that require the unique skills, knowledge, and judgment that are within the scope of their profession to assistants, technicians, support personnel, or any nonprofessionals over whom they have supervisory responsibility.
Rule E prohibits delegation of tasks that are beyond the competence of the designee and requires that adequate supervision be provided by the professional. The implications are widespread when cultural or linguistic differences exist between the service provider and the client or research participant, especially when the use of bilingual assistants, aides, transliterators, and interpreters are required. While providing services to linguistically diverse individuals may require the assistance of trained interpreters or other bilingual professionals, it is the responsibility of the professional to understand the influence of issues related to cultural and linguistic diversity (e.g., second language acquisition, dialectal differences, bilingualism). Ultimately, the professional is responsible for the appropriate diagnosis and treatment/management of communication disorders, as well as swallowing and balance disorders.
Principle of Ethics II: Individuals shall honor their responsibility to achieve and maintain the highest level of professional competence and performance.
Rule B: Individuals shall engage in only those aspects of the professions that are within the scope of their professional practice and competence, considering their level of education, training, and experience.
Rule B should not be construed as a reason not to provide services to individuals with different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Professionals should consider other options, such as additional training, making a referral, and using an interpreter to ensure appropriate services.
Rule C: Individuals shall engage in lifelong learning to maintain and enhance professional competence and performance.
Rule C reminds professionals of the importance of lifelong learning to develop the knowledge and skills required to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services.
Principle of Ethics IV: Individuals shall honor their responsibilities to the professions and their relationships with colleagues, students, and members of other professions and disciplines.
Rule K: Individuals shall not discriminate in their relationships with colleagues, students, and members of other professions and disciplines on the basis of race or ethnicity, gender, gender identity/gender expression, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or disability.
Rule K underscores that discrimination in any professional arena and against any individual for any reason, whether subtle or overt, ultimately dishonors the professions and harms all those within the practice.